Last night, a drunken 21-year-old man hailed a taxi in New York City and, after a few moments of conversation, attacked the cab driver, a Muslim, with a knife. The attack was not fatal, thankfully, and the perpetrator was immediately arrested. The New York Daily News, among many other outlets, hailed the incident as a hate crime:
A boozed-up bigot who just returned from filming U.S. Marines in Afghanistan used a pocket knife to slash a cabbie – just because the driver was Muslim, police said Wednesday.
Michael Enright, 21, of upstate Brewster, was charged with felony attempted murder as a hate crime – among other crimes – after the sick attack on Ahmed Sharif, 43, Tuesday night.
Enright slashed Sharif across the face, arm and hand after asking the Bangladesh-born cabbie if he was Muslim and then saying ‘As-salaam alaikum’ – which means ‘peace be unto you’ in Arabic, cops said.
Mayor Bloomberg and the victim himself immediately started speculating:
Mayor Bloomberg, who spoke to the Sharif and invited him to City Hall Friday, said the unprovoked attack was clearly “motivated by anti-Muslim bias.” …
Sharif said he believes the vicious attack may have been rooted in the anti-Muslim fervor that has been inflamed by the mosque debate.
Well, perhaps so. But it turns out, rather weirdly, that Enright works for an outfit called Intersections International, a “global initiative dedicated to promoting justice, reconciliation and peace across lines of faith, culture, ideology, race, class, national borders and other boundaries that divide humanity.” And on August 3, Intersections International issued this press release on the Ground Zero Mosque:
Intersections supports the efforts of its partner organizations, The Cordoba Initiative and the American Society for Muslim Advancement, to develop a Community Center and Muslim prayer space, called “The Cordoba House,” at 47-51 Park Place in Manhattan. The vision is to create a place where individuals-regardless of race, faith or ethnicity-will find a center for learning, art, cultural expression and athletics; and most importantly, a center guided by the universal values of all religions-compassion, generosity, peace and human dignity.
As I say, it’s a weird story. Time may or may not tell what ideology (if any) motivated the “very, very drunk” Enright to commit the assault on Mr. Sharif.